We’ve posted a lot before about family planning, and why women are the key to the future, but I think this infographic presents the issue (and a solution!) along a slightly different tack. Girls who become pregnant before 18 years of age are at much higher risk of complications during birth, not to mention that they are often forced to drop out of school to care for their baby. This infographic shows how these potentially life-ruining births can be nearly completely eliminated.

Take a look at some of our projects that work to empower girls, often to avoid child marriage:

Empower the Girls of Nepal: Mentor a girl from the lowest caste to become a leader in her community, and in turn empower other girls.

Ignite Girls’ Leadership in Pakistan: Run by the same group as the first project, Mentor a girl in Pakistan to become an agent for change, and a future mentor to other girls in her community.

Promote Education of Needy Girls in Tanzania: One of the best ways to combat adolescent pregnancy is to keep girls in school. Help these girls do just that.

If these aren’t enough, Jolkona has many more projects that empower girls in order to avoid early pregnancy.

Check out what Jolkona is up to on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Exciting News! We at Jolkona are happy to announce two new partner projects in Ghana! Lumana is an organization providing microfinance programs in rural areas, as well as connecting young entrepreneurs with great opportunities. Empower Playgrounds Inc. (EPI) builds electricity-generating playground equipment, which can light up entire communities, as well as lamps and science kits for schools.

Why Ghana?

In 1957, when Ghana gained its independence, its potential was roughly equivalent to that of South Korea. However, South Korea today is much further ahead than Ghana by any growth metrics. This is because Ghana saw a series of debilitating military coups between 1966-1979, each one devastating for Ghana’s development, leading to a steep decline in GDP and standard of living. In 1981, flight lieutenant Jerry Rawlings had wrested control a second time, and began a decade long struggle to reform Ghana’s economy. In 1992, Ghana held free elections and set up a constitution. While now seen as an example of political reform and economic recovery, Ghana’s development was stunted by its turbulent history.

Ghana also has a large wealth gap, inflating its statistics without addressing the problem. While Ghana is an ambitious nation with a space program, and seemingly with money to spare as it spent $20 million on a lavish 50th anniversary celebration in 2007, there are stark problems that Ghana is not focusing on. Fully one half of Ghanaians do not have access to electricity, and many also have no running water, especially in rural areas. Ghana is also ranked 69th in the Corruption Perception Index, meaning that a fair amount of foreign aid doesn’t reach the people its meant to serve.

How can we fix this?

  • The aim of Empower Playgrounds Inc (EPI) is to provide opportunities for bright children in dark situations to succeed and break through the poverty cycle. Executive Director Chris Owen told me. Our new project with them allows you to donate $50 to provide a child with an electric lantern, which can be charged during the day and used to do homework at night. Children are often expected to help out with chores or on family farms after school, and can’t do their homework in the dark. Many families resort to using gas lamps, which are detrimental to health when burned in-doors. This project addresses these basic needs of rural Ghaneans, and can decrease the wealth gap by providing an equal chance at education.
  • Lumana found that 80% of microfinance programs in Ghana are in urban centers, and the vast majority of Ghana’s poor have no access to them. Our new project with them means that your gift of $50 will fund a 3-day training session for 1st time borrowers, people who will then have the skills to set up their own business. This project further reduces the wealth gap by providing small-business owners the skills they need to expand and thrive.

And our new partners are just as excited about us as we are about them! “After meeting with Jolkona staff and hearing about the innovative force it is in the non-profit world we knew we had to get involved” says Mr. Owen.

Wait! There’s more Jolkona on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

We’re fortunate at Jolkona to have a group of stellar volunteers. They’re a mixed bunch coming from all over. But they all have one thing in common: they’re passionate about engendering change – for the good. Meet one such volunteer: Takuhiro Kodani. Takuhiro is 22 and comes from Tottori, a small village in the south west of Japan. He’s a regular at the Jolkona office and just started his own Jolkona campaign. Check it out here. I caught up with him and asked him a few questions about his time here and a little more about the campaign and the project he’s supporting.

So Takuhiro, what brings you to Seattle?
I came here to study International Business. I’m currently taking an International Business program at Bellevue College.

Are you enjoying your time here?
Yes, absolutely. I’m really enjoying Seattle life – beautiful days and great food!

Are you looking forward to going back to Japan or will you be sad to leave Seattle?
Actually, I will be sad. Obviously life is very different in Japan. I think I like the lifestyle and culture better here in Seattle; it suits me!

How long have you been interning here at Jolkona?
Since May. So a little over three months.

Why did you decide to get involved with Jolkona?
For two reasons: for a long time now I’ve been interested in non-profit operations and management. The culture of non-profits in Japan is very different from those in the US. So I wanted to experience and learn those differences. Secondly, I am also interested in empowerment projects, especially in developing countries. Last year I stayed in Bangladesh for three months and what I experienced there had a big impact on me. I realized that I wanted to do something to empower those less fortunate than myself. Then I found out about Jolkona. I saw what it was doing and it really appealed to me.

Is this your first time working with a non-profit?
Yes it is.

How has the experience been so far?
It’s been great. I’ve learned so much from Jolkona and its members, a lot of which I could never learn from studying.

Tell us a bit about the volunteer work you do and the projects you’re involved with.
Mainly I’m in charge of promoting Jolkona’s Japenese projects. There are 6 Japanese projects, so I promote them through social media like Facebook and Twitter. In addition to that, I supported Jolkona’s co-founder, Adnan Mahmud, when he came to Japan to give a series of talks in four cities. I helped promote his events through a Japanese Web magazine and by putting him in touch with other non-profit social entrepreneurs.

So you’re running your own campaign. Why did you decide to do this?
When I came to Seattle I met and talked to lots of people. Many times I was asked about Fukushima and the Tohoku region which was devastated by the Tsunami in April of 2011. The only thing I was ever really able to say was that current situation was still bad and that a lot more help was needed to complete the rebuilding. I myself then began wondering what I could do. I knew Jolkona had several Japanese projects which supported the rebuilding of Tohoku, so I decided to get involved myself and support Japan from Seattle. So that’s why I’m running this campaign.

Can you tell us a bit more about the campaign?
This campaign supports ETIC, a Japanese non-profit organization which helps young leaders who are trying to rebuild the Tohoku region by giving them technical assistance and leadership training. You can support their work by making a donation from as small as $5. My goal is to fund 5 EITC leaders. My campaign started today!

What do you hope to show people by doing this campaign?
I want people to understand that, although the disaster happened over a year ago, there are still many challenges in the rebuilding the Tohoku region. The work is not finished and I don’t want it to be forgotten.

What would your advice be to young people who want to get involved in philanthropy?
First, I think it’s important to pay attention to what is going around you. If there is a problem that you can resolve, then take action. But there are so many resources available to us. The internet and online giving platforms, like Jolkona, are great examples of this.

Finally, are you confident you will hit your campaign target?
Yes, I am confident I’ll hit my target for the campaign. It’s a great project, and I really hope a lot of people will see that and help me fund it.

Check out Takuhiro’s campaign page and help him help others.

Want to start your own campaign for a project you’re passionate about? It’s easy! Click here to find out just how easy it really is!

July 9th saw the start of our Give Health matching campaign designed to coincide with July’s Global Health month here in Seattle.  The match was a generous $3500 and finished fully funded!

We want to thank everyone who participated: the sponsors, the donors, the volunteers, and also S4SC for throwing us a great party and showing us how to socialize for social change!

The final amount raised was:


And here’s the impact you’ve made:

  • 2 prosthetics provided in Bangladesh
  • 49 children saved from diarrhea in India
  • 4 booklets about improved mental health distributed in Japan
  • 12 children received complete dental care in Bolivia
  • 12 participants in Kenyan soccer tournament sponsored
  • 60 children fed for a week in Uganda
  • 2 families of 6 people fed for three weeks in Somalia
  • 20 people received healthcare in Mali
  • 2 dogs vaccinated in Nepal
  • 8 weeks of medical supplies provide in Bangladesh
  • 2 homes fumigated in Bolivia
  • 10 children received complete dental care in Bolivia
  • 4 weeks of health screenings provided in Bangladesh
  • 70 health kits provided in Somalia
  • 2 children’s dental visit sponsored in Bolivia
  • 4 water construction tools provided in Kenya
  • 20 people received oral rehydration salts in Somalia
  • 2 children received vitamins and medicine in Sierra Leone
  • 2 children’s medical needs supported in Cambodia
  • 2 malnourished children saved in Nepal
  • 2 weeks of care provided for a mother and her baby in Guatemala
  • 2 bags of seeds provided in Nicaragua
  • 2 children sponsored for a dental visit in Bolivia
  • 7 women health workers supported in Peru

Thank you everyone!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest and keep up to date with all we’re doing and the impact you are making.

On Thursday of last week, a group of passionate individuals got together in a trendy building on Lenora and 1st to celebrate Jolkona and make their impact. That’s right, Socializing for Social Change‘s (S4SC) event benefitting Jolkona was a great success! Here’s the story of how the night went, and in true Jolkona fashion, a report of the impact the event had.

Volunteers from Jolkona and S4SC assembled at Maker’s Space at 4:00 to get ready for the event. They prepared food, put out the raffle station, hooked up the sound system, and set up two projectors; one highlighting different Global Health facts and Jolkona projects, the other broadcasting any tweets featuring #S4SC live. At 6:00, guests started arriving.

They were greeted at the door, and given a nametag featuring their twitter handle and the project they donated to with their ticket. They then got food, drinks, and raffle tickets; a chance to win one out of four fabulous prizes. At 7:30, S4SC founder Antonio Smith officially welcomed everyone who attended, and introduced our very own Nadia Khawaja, who gave guests the rundown on Jolkona. At 8:30, the raffle tickets were drawn, and everyone received swag bags filled with great prizes. By 9:30, the event was over, and volunteers helped return the space to the neat order it was in before.

I felt that the evening was very successful; S4SC created a lively atmosphere and a great forum to talk about Jolkona and giving. This kind of event is a great way to attract the vibrant and young community that Jolkona loves. Seeing the twitter wall live, and hearing about the potential amount of publicity for Jolkona, showed me yet again that each and every one of us, each drop of water counts towards making a difference.

The Impact:

-The hashtag #S4SC potentially garnered 30,000 impressions the night of the event!

80 Event tickets were sold, meaning:

10 youth will be sponsored to attend the Kick It with Kenya soccer/leadership conference.

23 children will receive diarrhea treatment in Kolkata, India.

8 Women will receive training to be community health promoters in rural Peru.

56 Raffle tickets were bought; and Jolkona received a total of $1,100 for Global Health, finishing our Give Health matching campaign!

A huge thank you from all of us at Jolkona to Socializing for Social Change! Their work and partnership is what made this amazing and fun event possible.

See the total impact our Give Health Campaign had. If this event sounded fun, get ready for Corks N’ Forks on October 4th! Read more Jolkona on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.